After Halloween is over, I know what’s coming, so I slowly prepare myself for the season. I find this time of the year a little challenging because of bereavement and grief. It’s usually a reminder for me that the Christmas I once knew, will never return. For others this may look like being estranged from family or many other reasons.
Although I remember and feel the loss during this period, I always try to make space for my feelings and do things that feel good for me. Here are some things I’d do to show up for myself during this season. I hope this is something that will help you on your journey too.
Take a trip to The Ever After Garden
The Ever After Garden is a space of remembrance, where visitors can dedicate a white silk rose in memory of a loved one. Entrance to the installation is free – you just simply turn up, no booking required.
The space welcomes contributions in the form of a suggested donation of £10 per rose. All proceeds go to The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. Your dedication message can be submitted online, or you can visit the garden in person and hand write your own message. If you would like to dedicate a rose please click here
Open from 3PM – 9PM between 23rd November 2022 – 20th December 2002 at Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, W1K 2HP
Create a vision board
If you’re a visual person like me, a good vision board goes a long way. Some years I have done this by myself and other’s with friends and family. This is a way to plan for the future and give yourself something to look forward to. Get some newspapers, magazines, glue and an A3 piece of paper and create your vision board for the next 12 months. This board can envision anything you want it to – the nice things you’d like to do for yourself, the new things you’d like to try, where you’d like to be career wise. Anything and everything you want.
Take time for YOU
There are some days that I just want to be by myself and sit with my thoughts and feelings. On these days I may wrap up and have a duvet day with all my favourite snacks, read a book, write my loved one a letter or as wild as it sounds, get stuck into work.
At this time you may want to write a letter to your future self. I’ve done this once before and it came as a nice surprise when the email popped up. There are sites such as Future Me that allow you to set any date that you want to receive your letter. Your message to yourself is personal and consists of anything you want it to. The future me site includes some ideas.
Grab support from your chosen family
Around this time I try to be as open as I can with my chosen family. I do this by:
- Asking them for help if I need it and being clear on how they can support me.
- Reminding them a couple weeks in advance how this season makes me feel. We may expect them to know and remember but sometimes a little nudge goes a long way.
Where you have the capacity, surround yourself with your chosen family. Their love and company is just as important. Ask them to go out with you, go and shake nyash with them; if that’s what tickles your fancy or stay in, cook and watch some Netflix.
I’m a sucker for the gym, working out and going for a stroll in nature.
I like to take a little time to invest in my physical well-being, whether that be 30 mins of walking, cycling or any physical activity. Here are a few things I might try:
- Gymsharks Fitness Classes (free)
Gymshark have recently open up a store on Regents street and are offering over 30 bookable free classes every week, including functional fitness, yoga, strength and HIIT. Book via their app.
Gym Facilities: Everyone will have access to the gender neutral Locker Room adjoining the Sweat Room, which has lockers, showers, towels and changing facilities.
Address: Gymshark London, 165 Regent Street, London, W1S 3BE
- NDY GLOBAL – a QPOC/TRANS centred community connected through health and queer clubs nights.In the past they have put on kettlebell and boxing classes – I definitely want to check them out soon.
- Connect with nature – whether that’s going for a walk in your local park or sitting in your garden – go outside and connect. Below are two cute gardens to visit if you’re ever in the area:
Crossrail Place Roof Garden (free) – Canary Wharf
Kyoto Garden (free)– Holland Park
Treat yourself to a show/visit a gallery
I love a good show or gallery. I’m signed up to the renditions newsletter where I get news on all things Black theatre. Here are a few things I’m going to see this season.
- The Cocoa Butter Club
A performance and cabaret company showcasing and celebrating performers of colour. They have their The Cocoa Butter Club Christmas show coming up on the 10th December (from £15)
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old St, London EC1V 9LT
- The New Black Vanguard
Showing at the Saatchi Gallery (from £5) where you can see work by the likes of Seye Isikalu, Daniel Obasi, Christina Ebenezer and many more.
From 28th October 2022 – 22nd January 2023
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY
- The Kola Nut Does Not Speak English
Showing at the Bush Theatre – written and performed by Tania Nwachukwu.
From 28th November 2022 – 17th December 2022
Bush Theatre,7 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd’s Bush, London, W12 8LJ
How you show up for you is entirely your choice. There is no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is that you feel safe, loved and seen.
If you have no one you can speak with or would rather speak to someone you don’t know please contact:
Samaritans – 116 123
NHS – 111
SHOUT Crisis text line – text “SHOUT” to 85258 or text “YM” if you’re under 19